JULY 3RD (DAY 1)
I am Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
My summer reading brought me to
mid-nineteenth century America
I want to be Tom,
with a pocket-ful of trinkets,
hood-winking my friends
into doing my chores.
I want to be Huck,
and raft the Mississippi
living one adventure after another.
So, in mid-twentieth century America,
I set out on my own journey.
My raft: The A-train.
Walking aimlessly through
the sweated streets of Canal, Elizabeth,
Familiar sights and sounds and smells
of Little Italy, mixed with the exotic air
Strangers and strange places encountered.
But, I finally get what I came for: Fireworks.
My friends ask, “Tom, where were you?”
My parents ask, “Huck, Where have you been all day?”
I go to bed, reliving the adventures
of Tom and Huck.
4th OF JULY (DAY 2)
Cherry Bombs laid fuse to orb in red box.
whose singular blast reverberates
through the physical and spiritual self.
LAY ON GROUND.
These simple instructions were rarely followed.
These cherries were not sedentary objects.
HOLD IN HAND.
Thrown against a wall, into a garbage can,
and, sometimes, down a gutter sewer.
But, oh man, the noise, the light,
this singular event, this celebration.
JULY 5TH (American dream)
Up early, to go with my father to his fish store,
a place where old-world Sicily and Russia meet
on Amboy Street in Brooklyn.
The store with its saw-dust on the floor,
absorbing light as a backdrop
to the silvery reflections of fish on-ice
and the odor of shredded wood and sea-water.
Kosher butcher is on other side of the store.
Live poultry in back storage area,
wafting sounds and smells
into the main store.
Sons of the Fishman, and sons of the Butcher
play and work in this house of lively creatures,
alien to our everyday lives on Brooklyn streets.
None would follow in their fathers’